Paul Hollywood Eats Mexico coming to Channel 4 in the UK
Mexico is one of the most visited countries on the planet, but few people realise that it is also one of the world's best gastronomic destinations. Paul Hollywood is off to explore the national obsession with a grand tour of Mexican cuisine – and its many, many surprises – in a brand-new series from North One, Paul Hollywood Eats Mexico.
Burritos, nachos, and fajitas, oh my! They were not invented in Mexico, but in the United States. The true Mexican gastronomic experience is far more diverse, surprising, and fascinating. This is the nation that invented chocolate, where people still consume ancient recipes, and where the world's most deadly fruit is grown. And, fortunately for Paul Hollywood, Mexicans also enjoy a pastry, particularly Pan Dulce (literal translation: sweet breads), a type of baking that Paul has never encountered. Mexico is the right destination for Britain's favourite baker to embark on a culinary adventure and take on some really difficult local challenges.
Over three episodes, Paul learns about the country's culture, character and history through its cuisine. His adventure begins in the capital, Mexico City, as he samples the simple yet delicious Taco Al Pastor with a tour guide known as the 'Taco Hunter'. His CDMX (Ciudad de México) journey also includes a trip to the Central de Abasto market where he tries a variety of unusual fruits and at San Juan Market, café owner Felipe Reyes introduces Paul to some of the exotic delicacies on offer – from grilled cockroaches to crocodile tacos. Will he accept the offer of a baked tarantula?
Keen to explore the parts of Mexico other foods shows don't reach, Paul visits Tijuana, where he walks along the infamous wall that runs along the US border and joins restaurant owner Claudette Zepeda on a food tour of Sonoran, Sinaloan, Jaliscan and Guadalajaran eateries. Paul also meets up with a cactus restaurant owner who shows him how to take cactus from plant to plate, before he samples another local delight – insects. Mexico is the world's biggest consumers of insects, so it's only fair that Paul indulges in a tasting menu in Oaxaca.
It wouldn't be a proper foodie road trip for Paul without a bit of baking and Elena Reygardes, one of the best chefs and bakers in Latin America, teaches Paul how to make Concha, Mexico's most popular Pan Dulce. He also gets roped into judging a pasty competition in a small town with a very unexpected connection to Cornwall and finds himself armed with a piping bag in an exclusive bakery helping to prepare an exquisitely decorated four-tier Quinceanera cake for a fifteenth birthday party – the Mexican equivalent of sweet sixteen, so the pressure is on.
In Cancun, Paul works his way through a six-course banquet of ancient Mayan inspired cuisine, spends a raucous evening sampling beer in a cantina, and is schooled in all things Tequila and Mezcal. He's also subjected to a chilli-themed restaurant challenge, complete with chilli-infused drinks and discovers the ultimate Mexican hangover cure – which may well come in handy after this part of the trip!
Paul Hollywood said: "Mexico is an amazing country, with amazing people and amazing food. The surprises never stopped coming. For example, I never thought I would be judging a Cornish Pasty competition in a Mexican town square, backed by a full mariachi band. Which, for the avoidance of doubt, I did."
Paul Hollywood Eats Mexico will air on Channel 4 later in 2022.